HR Strange But True!
December 20, 2007

Did we just hear a collective sigh of relief from your cartoon-festooned cubicles? An administrative law judge has ruled that a worker fired after posting a comic strip analogizing management to "drunken lemurs" is entitled to unemployment benefits.

David Stewart, a security supervisor for Catfish Bend Casinos in Burlington, Iowa, posted the Dilbert comic strip on a public bulletin board shortly after the company announced the casino would be closing and 170 workers would be laid off, the Des Moines Register reported.

The comic strip contained the following exchange between Dilbert and a sanitation worker:

"Why does it seem as if most of the decisions in my workplace are made by drunken lemurs?"

"Decisions are made by people who have time, not people who have talent."

"Why are talented people so busy?"

"They're fixing the problems made by people who have time."

Stewart was fired after supervisors reviewed surveillance tapes and determined that he had posted the comic strip. At a recent hearing on Stewart's unemployment benefits claim, the casino's human resources director testified that "upper management" found the comic strip "very offensive," the Register reported.

"Basically, he was accusing the decision-makers of being drunken lemurs," Steve Morley testified. "We consider that misconduct when you insult your employer."

Stewart testified he thought the strip was humorous and might help cheer people up. Administrative Law Judge Lynette Donner ruled that the posting of the comic strip represented "a good-faith error in judgment," not intentional misbehavior, the Register reported.

Dilbert creator Scott Adams said he had heard unconfirmed reports of people being disciplined or fired for posting his comic strips, but that Stewart's case was the first confirmed firing of which he was aware.


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